Thursday, 10 December 2015

Advent Calendar Day 10 #KatherineGarbera

Behind door number 10 of my advent calendar: Katherine Garbera!

Recipe and Christmas Tradition

It’s safe to say that most if not all of my traditions revolve around my family and food. My earliest memories are of sitting in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house with my mom and her talking, laughing and eating. I like to linger at the kitchen table when I have friends and family over. There is something that just feels so right about it.

One of those recipes is a traditional Italian Christmas cookie. They are called struffoli. They are little bits of fried dough coated in honey and sprinkles. Now my kids and husband will tell you I have an unnatural propensity to use sprinkles on every holiday and on everything—ignore stories of the green sprinkles for St. Patrick’s day in the biscuits which made it look like they might be moldy. :D

And here is my typed up one with the parts she left out.

2 cups sifted flour. Mix in 3 eggs beat after each egg. Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Mix well to make a soft dough. Roll into a long strip of dough (like when you gnocchi) and cut into 1 inch pieces. Roll the pieces in your hand until they are round. Drop into hot oil and cooking until they are brown on all sides. Take from the oil and drain on a paper towel for a few seconds then toss in honey and coat with brightly colored sprinkles.

In my novella A Cowboy For Christmas one of the pivotal scenes involves the starting of new traditions for Annie and Carson. I think that traditions are a link between the past and the present. I adjust them as needed. For example my grandmother would have used orange peel instead of sprinkles on the struffoli but my kids thought it looked funny and wouldn't eat them so we used just sprinkles until they were older to appreciate it.

Here’s an excerpt of that scene:

He wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “Then let’s start some.”

She wanted to but then she started worrying if he’d be with her next Christmas. “What if—

“No. No questions, we are going to start a tradition and that’s it.”

“Okay, so what is the tradition going to be?”

“Well it starts with me delivering your tree and you fixing me lasagna for dinner… see how I’ve guaranteed you’ll make dinner for me again?”

“In a year? Don’t you want dinner before then?” she asked, worried. She realized that she was afraid because she wanted this to be real. She wanted everything she felt for Carson to be perfect and if it wasn’t she had no idea what she’d do. She was out of places to run to. Maybe that would be enough. Maybe it’d be enough to stay this time.

“We’ll have dinner again before next Christmas, but this is about our tradition.”

“Okay,” she said. Stop worrying, she warned herself. “What’s next?”

“Well, we decorate your tree,” he said.

“You’re just saying the things we’re doing,” she said. “Does that count?”

“That’s how traditions get started,” he said. He took a box of hand-wrapped ornaments that had been her mom’s and handed them to her.

What are some of your traditions for the holidays? I’m giving away a copy of A Cowboy For Christmas and Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside, both of my Scott Brothers Christmas novellas, to one lucky blog participant.

USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 70 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund. Visit her on the web at, connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @katheringarbera.

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